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Some Jake Guentzel speculation

February 12, 2024, 8:42 PM ET [105 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Penguins had quite a disappointing weekend and left Minnesota and Winnipeg without any standings points. They had games in hand on the teams they were chasing, but those aren’t worth anything if you don’t win games and they didn’t. The playoffs aren’t looking very good at the moment.

Aside from the struggle in the standings the Penguins have a huge decision to make on Jake Guentzel and we are getting closer and closer to a conclusion. Either we are going to hear about a long contract extension and a nice raise for Guentzel or we are going to get the news of a trade. Here’s Elliotte Friedman’s take on the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast:

Guentzel, the thing about Pittsburgh is someone said to me, you know Dubas, right? And I said yes I do, I’ve met him once or twice before. And they said you know that he’s got , he’s done his research, what did Claude Giroux get? A first rounder and Owen Tippett now don’t forget Florida was kinda down on Tippett at the time but he’s turned out ot be a great find for Philly. If Giroux had gone to Colorado it was a first rounder and I think barren, and so it was a first and a good prospect in both those cases. Look at tyler Toffoli deal, when tyler Toffoli got traded from Calgary to New Jersey. He was traded for Sharangovich , who’s turned out to be a real good pickup and a third rounder.

Now, obviously Dubas is going to look at the Giroux deal and as opposed to the Toffoli deal, because the Giroux price was a little bit higher. But Dubas is sitting there and he’s saying look, if you want Guentzel I want the Giroux deal so so he can wait. Everyone’s looking at Guentzel and teams who want him, they know, whether Kyle Dubas waits, and a really tough weekend for the Penguins bad loss in Minnesota no points against Winnipeg so you know look, I think Dubas is prepared to let this play out because he knows the comparables and everybody else knows the comparables, too.

To me, it is simply a question of when does Dubas decide if he’s going to do it. If Pittsburgh’s in the race, I still think he does it, but you know as I say the math isn’t very good for them. But I think everybody knows that’s what the Penguins will be asking for when the time comes for Guentzel.

Long story short Friedman’s speculation is that Dubas wants a deal like the one the Flyers got for Giroux from Florida. The other notable thing he said was he thinks Dubas deals Guentzel away regardless of where the Penguins are in the standings.

The first-round pick is going to be a late first round pick because a team trading for Guentzel is a playoff team looking to make a deep run. Guentzel, in theory, would help get them further in the playoffs, thus making the pick worse. This pick is unlikely to help the current team, or perhaps the future one as well.

This makes it imperative for Dubas to hit on the prospect. The only way a Guentzel trade works is if they get a playable prospect with an offensive pulse back, who is also making minimal money. That way they can use the cap space to shore up other spots in the lineup. It’s a tricky trade.

Trading Crosby’s best ever winger is going to severely hurt both the team and Crosby’s individual success. You won’t replace his production. You also run the risk of Crosby contemplating the possibility of finishing his career elsewhere. I don’t think the alarm needs to be sounded on this front right now, but I could see timeline where the Guentzel trade amounts to nothing for the Penguins and Sid growing frustrated as the team sinks lower and lower into a rebuild.

With the playoffs becoming a hope more than a destination Kyle Dubas will shift his focus towards moving Guentzel. This will be a defining trade for the direction this franchise takes. Nailing this trade could reshape their salary cap structure and add playable cheap depth, something they’ve lacked for years. Whiffing on it would just see them losing their best winger for nothing in the short or long term, which would be damning.

Considering there hasn’t been a lot of buzz about a Guentzel extension being signed it looks more and more like we are going to start the post-Guentzel era sometime in the next few weeks. It will likely make or break the next few years of the Crosby/Malkin era. No pressure.

Thanks for reading!
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